Criminal Records and Employment
Beth Avery is a staff attorney on NELP’s Work Equity team. Since she joined NELP in 2015 as a Ford Foundation legal fellow, Beth’s advocacy has focused on reducing the barriers to employment faced by people with arrest and conviction records and expanding job opportunities for that immense population.
In partnership with allies across the country, Beth advocates for fair chance hiring (“ban the box”) policies. For example, in 2017, she worked with a coalition of California advocates and formerly incarcerated leaders to enact the California Fair Chance Act, which requires California employers to delay background checks until later in the hiring process. Beth also researches and promotes fair chance licensing reforms, which enhance the fairness of occupational licensing laws across the country by expanding access to licensed professions by people with records. As part of her advocacy, she has testified before state legislatures and authored amicus briefs to federal and state courts.
Beth has co-authored various NELP publications and is a frequent media resource and speaker on issues affecting the employment of people with arrest and conviction records. She has been interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered and quoted in various print outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.
Before joining NELP, Beth clerked for the Honorable Jesus G. Bernal in the Central District of California as well as the New Jersey Supreme Court. Before pursuing her legal training, she assisted underserved and vulnerable populations throughout the country with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC).
J.D., Harvard Law School
B.A., The College of New Jersey